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What Marks a Business as Untrustworthy Online?

Are you a business owner who sees great value in building a reputable online presence? If so, here are four strategic tips to check your online presence and ensure your brand is recognized as the reputable, quality business that you want to provide to your customers.

Check for Spammy Links

Spammy links are defined as links that add no real value to the viewer’s experience. Websites can be guilty of this when they buy links from a link farm or exchange links through link wheels and low-quality press-syndication schemes. Instead, build creative content that people will want to share with their followers, and watch the natural links pour in.

Design a Trustworthy Site

There are several ways that your web design can be seen as untrustworthy by visitors. Having a wall of text saying nothing is one of them. Not having enough white space or too much white space makes a page look bad in a viewer’s eyes. Pages without clear intent also fall into this category. While your viewer may never see it, Google will greatly penalize sites with hidden messages. Suffice it to say, bad web design hurts your business. Instead, take the time to create beautiful web pages that add real value to your target customer’s knowledge.

Avoid Using Similar Names

Some businesses try to trick people by borrowing more successful business’ names. This is a bad idea as you want to only be responsible for your own reputation. Additionally, it’s best if people remember the great experience that they had with your company instead of thinking that it was your competitor who delivered such excellent service. To avoid any mix-ups, buy all website domains that sound a lot like your own so that others cannot claim them in the future. Do the same with any social media accounts that are similar to your company name.

Stay Away from Questionable Reviews

Google now requires that all their posted reviews come from real Google accounts. Nevertheless, many websites continue to post fake reviews. Use a plugin to allow your reviews to show directly on your website. Respond professionally to all reviews, and watch them accumulate. People are more willing to forgive a negative review if they see that you have responded professionally and are taking steps to correct the situation. After all, they realize that you cannot please 100 percent of people all of the time.

Examine your website to make sure that you are not guilty of any of these mistakes. By avoiding these practices, you can help your company to thrive.

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6 Popular Website Design Tips for Better Ratings

Website creation is more exciting than ever as creators benefit from a constant stream of new approaches to building an incredible website. Although there are many competing approaches to web design being featured on a broad range of sites, there are many common elements we can identify to find the best design techniques available for creating a highly rated website today.

Emphasize Mobile Compatibility

In 2018, more people are searching the internet with mobile devices than on desktop computers. This means that designing a highly rated website includes building it with mobile viewing as a primary concern. Emphasizing collapsible layouts, minimalist designs that look better on a smaller screen, icons explicitly designed for mobile use, and choosing images and illustrations that will still be easily recognizable on smaller displays are all essential parts of modern web design. The keyboard is no longer the primary tool used by people navigating the internet; touch-screen icons have to be easy to use and interpret to pull and retain mobile customers.

Related: StatCounter | Mobile and Tablet Internet Usage

Let Custom Illustrations take Center Stage

Popular websites today heavily emphasize the creative use of custom illustrations. Storytelling through illustration can be used to emphasize the voice and culture of your brand in a way that is more compelling than an about-us page or a detailed explanation of your companies values. While text is still the primary way to communicate with the viewer, reactive animated illustrations make your website fun for the viewer to interact with. Most importantly, illustrations, more than photographs or other more complex images, are more easily scale-able to mobile platforms because of their relative simplicity. Utilize illustrations to break up the visual field and stand out from the crowd.

Related: Web Designer Depot | The Use of Illustration in Web Design

Design Beyond the Grid

Minimalist website design layouts of the near past made tremendous strides toward eliminating unnecessary and distracting features from older website layouts. This was partly achieved with the creation of grids that helped simplify and define the functions of each element of the page. While this approach did a lot to modernize and declutter websites, the reliance on grid structures often made sites feel impersonal and sterile. The human element was lost. Today’s best sites incorporate design that hasn’t abandoned the grid but isn’t restricted by it either. Modern layouts utilize overlapping elements and organic shapes to create personality and uniqueness.

Related: Creative Bloq | The Designer’s Guide to Grid Theory

But Don’t Go Overboard

After luring viewers in with SEO and creative marketing, professional sites must effectively accomplish their business objectives without making a bloated site that turns off viewers. An emerging solution is the use of AI and business intelligence to create data visualizations in real time that can quickly communicate information to the consumer in creative, visually appealing ways which effectively funnel consumers into transactions with minimal real estate. That means that there shouldn’t just be sole focus on attracting new clients, but to create a usable and effective website while integrating brand and company identity into it.

Related: TechEmergence | 6 Examples of AI in Business Intelligence Applications

Form Follows Function: Great sites Emphasis Usability

Creating a site with high usability means building it with the user’s needs in mind at every stage. In a modern context, assuming mobile compatibility, a usable site has several other distinct characteristics. It is accessible. Emphasizing SEO and social media tools brings your site to viewers. The tools on your site should be intuitive and easy to learn.The purpose of each page should be clear and should be a part of your marketing funnel. Your site should create a sense of authority, trust and be relevant to your audience’s interest.

Related: InBoundREM | Best Realtor Websites

Break Up the Monotony With Creative Multimedia Utilization

Not long ago, it was common to see websites with long, uninterrupted blocks of text as the primary feature of each page. Websites were divided into clear sections that separated images from stories or comment sections. Modern sites use a multimedia approach to break the visual monotony of sites. Think of this as topically relevant commercial breaks strategically placed inside your content to keep viewers engaged and interacting with your content. Images, videos, illustrations advertisements should be strategically placed within web content in a way that still supports the overall goals of your site.

Related: Louise Myers | Multimedia Content

Approaches to website design are affected by trends in the market just as much as any other creative enterprise. The design philosophies that worked in the past might produce a dated result today. By incorporating one or several of these design philosophies, we can help you create a website that is modern, fresh, and that people will love to visit.

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4 Ways to Create Content for Facebook

If you are like many businesses, you had good intentions when you started marketing on Facebook. Then, you got busy with life and the day-to-day operation of your business, and you pushed marketing on Facebook to the back of your agenda. If this scenario sounds familiar, then you are giving up one of the best marketing tools in your arsenal. While there are many problems with using Facebook to market your business, here are four ways to solve some of the most difficult ones:

Employ Social Listening

Way too many companies try to use Facebook to connect with their customers without spending time listening to those customers. Facebook provides you with a forum where it is easy to listen to your customers. Therefore, use it to engage with real people. Assuming that you are doing a great job in other areas of your business, thanking people for their business on Facebook is a great way to build up customer’s loyalty. Just make sure you are taking the time to respond professionally to each comment be it positive or negatively. If you do not have the time, then some businesses will do this for you.

Post Engaging Content

One of the most significant challenges of using Facebook as a marketing tool is writing engaging Facebook posts. According to Word Counter, Facebook posts with 40 characters or less generated the highest engagement at 86 percent, although they only accounted for 5 percent of all retail brand wall posts. Which means you’re probably going to want to also use plenty of pictures, infographics, videos, and other type of content when strategizing.

Know Your Objectives

Another major problem that business people face when marketing on Facebook is not setting clear objectives. Therefore, they do not know if there marketing is being effective or not. Instead of making a guest, create marketing goals that are specific, measurable, relevant, attainable and timely. Then, work towards meeting those metrics on a daily basis.

Reach Your Targeted Audience

Facebook provides you with a wonderful opportunity to find out who your target audience really is, and why they believe in your product. You would not be the first company to discover that your target audience is not the people that you think. Facebook makes it easy to create lists based on people’s behaviors and interests along with allowing you to create lookalike audiences based on who is currently following your Facebook feed. According to Entrepreneur, you’re going to want to avoid targeting too broadly, boosting posts, copying ads, or make the ad solely about you or your product.

There are many different reasons that your company needs to be on Facebook. Start using the site at least once a day and your company will grow tremendously.

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Social Media Advertising to Sell More Stuff!

Advantages of Social Media Marketing

Social platforms provide advantages for marketers in comparison to traditional internet advertising, in that you can reach people with particular backgrounds and interests. You can also reach people who are highly engaged in the content they are viewing. There are many social platforms that you can advertise on, and each has its strengths and weaknesses. Here are some of the best:

Facebook

Facebook provides a means for businesses to create ads that display in either a user’s news feed or in other locations of the site. According to experts, “68 percent of US adults use Facebook, compared to just 28 percent for Instagram, which is the second most used social network by adults in the US. 96 percent of social marketers say the ROI for Facebook is greater than other social platforms.” So it’s definitely a great platform to reach potential consumers.

Additionally, Facebook’s ads are not only very targeted, but affordable, too. For example, starting at $5 you can boost your company’s posts to a far greater audience than what would generally see them. It is also effortless to create and manage the ads, which are typically approved quickly. Sometimes in a matter of seconds.

On the downside, advertising on the platform is highly competitive. So, to succeed you really need to know what grabs people’s attention on the site. You also need a clearly defined business goal that the ads will drive.

Instagram

Instagram is an excellent platform for businesses looking to connect with a younger and more dynamic user base, who are also more likely to engage branded posts than on other social platforms. Ads display directly in people’s feeds.

Regarding strengths, you can perform very detailed targeting on Instagram. You can target by interests, demographics, behaviors, and locations, and you can choose from 11 different campaign goals. It is also a very visual platform, so you can really show off your products and services. At the same time, you do not have to spend a lot of money creating your ads, as people actually expect to see visuals created by ordinary people.

Instagram, though, does have its drawbacks. Its audience is far smaller than Facebook, and if you want to reach older people, it is probably not your best choice. It is also not the best platform for wordy types of ads.

Twitter

Twitter offers a social platform that reaches hundreds of millions of active users every month, with ads displaying in people’s feeds, searches, timelines and even profiles. Like with most other social platforms, you can target your Twitters ads to a particular audience based on interests. There are also many different types of ads you can choose from.

However, Twitter ads are far from perfect. Their analytics are not as in-depth as other social platforms, and Twitter ads can be more easily missed because of the very nature of the platform. Tweets tend to go by very quickly, and Twitter users tend to spend only short amounts of time there.

Snapchat

Snapchat lets businesses display short video ads on their messaging platform, which like Instagram, is very popular with young people. The advantage of Snapchat ads is that they command greater attention than ads on other social platforms. Sometimes significantly more attention. Also, unlike on some other platforms, their video ads have the sound turned on by default.

The disadvantage of Snapchat ads is that they are short by their very nature. So you must be able to get out your message quickly. Also, users can skip the commercials, which leads to shorter viewing times than video ads on other platforms. Finally, ads display at the end of user videos, which is perhaps not the greatest way to engage users.

So, which social platform should you advertise on? The choice is really dependent on your audience and goals, and the type of ads you will produce. For more information on the kind of content to include in your social media posts, check out our other articles!

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Back to School for Local Businesses in the Google Era

Back to School for Local Businesses in the Google Era

Kids are back in the classroom, and it’s the perfect time for Regina’s local businesses to get into a classroom of their own to get help online. The Regina area is home to more than 10,000 businesses, and more than 90 per cent have fewer than 50 employees. One local business wants to help other local businesses get found on Google.

Above the Fold, along with sponsors, BLG Business Solutions, sMedia and Scotiabank, are hosting Get Found on Google Live, for local businesses interested in improving their online presence. It’s no small feat to be a Google-approved agency, but Above the Fold has done it and is sharing that expertise on Thursday, September 27, with Saskatchewan’s only in-person, hands-on workshop. It’s a full-day workshop, hosted by owner and Chief Marketing Officer Barb McGrath, to help businesses learn to use the free tools designed by Google to manage their online reputation, find more ready-to-buy customers, streamline their marketing and make their website easy to find.

Thirty-Nine Years in Business and Still Learning

“If you want to learn more about how to promote your business online, then Get Found on Google Live is just the right program for you, said Sherry Knight, CEO of Dimension 11, and business owner for over 38 years, in Regina and Get Found on Google participant. From the ins and outs of Google Analytics to how to make your website Google “friendly” this program is a must. And, on top of the technical aspects, Barb is able to answer the mundane, the “I have no idea what I am trying to say” and the deep dive questions so everyone can have a clearer understanding of what one needs to do to get greater notice on Google.”

Registration

The workshop  provides hands-on training and one-on-one help with a local expert, plus access to Google tools and credits (not to mention great food, beverages and plenty of coffee!). The workshop runs 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on September 27 at the Fairfield Inn & Suites in Regina.  Pre-registration is required at getfound.live.  

“I know what it’s like to run a local business in Saskatchewan, and I know how important it is to make sure my online marketing is done right,” said McGrath. “There are lots of entrepreneurs and business owners in Regina who are uncomfortable in the tech space, but we are here to help. It’s back-to-school time for kids and business owners alike; my goal is to give local businesses the tools they need to show off everything we have to offer in this city and this province.”

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Facebook Business Recommendations are Here

Move Over Ratings, Facebook Recommendations are Here.

Facebook announced that the way customers interact with local businesses is changing; including replacing star ratings and reviews with Recommendations. In this post, we’ll cover what the Facebook Recommendations update means for you.

Ratings are now recommendations

Facebook Recommendation Updates

Want to write a recommendation?

Ratings are now Recommendations! Here’s what you need to know about the change:

  • Recommendations will be posted directly to the business Page (in place of review/star ratings)

Facebook Recommendation

  • Legacy reviews are being changed to “Recommended” or “Not Recommended”
    • Legacy 1 and 2-star ratings are “Not Recommended”
    • Legacy 4 and 5-star ratings are “Recommended”
    • Legacy 3-star ratings show up as “Reviewed”
    • Legacy star ratings no longer appear in star format, but under “opinion” score

Facebook Recommendation Score

  • Updated to 25 minimum character count to promote leaving more detailed recommendations/reviews

Facebook Recommendation Example

  • Newsfeed Recommendations posted by your network will influence Recommendations to the business page
  • Recommendations can have a suite of tags and rich media (photos) attached to them

It’s obvious from these updates that Facebook is making an effort to give customers (and businesses) richer, more valuable recommendations on which to base their purchase decisions. More weight will be added to each recommendation with a minimum character count and rich media additions such as tags and photos.

What the Facebook Recommendation Updates Mean for Local Businesses

1. Businesses cultivate a consistent story about their brand

Facebook Recommendations will help build up a customer-generated brand story for businesses right on their Page. New detailed Recommendations of the business will give a better insight into what you can expect from that business based on other customers’ experiences. Before Recommendations, customers would talk about a business in private channels or status updates. A friend on Facebook would ask “Where’s a good place to get my windshield replaced?” and their network would reply with various businesses they recommended. In October 2016, Facebook added the first slice of Recommendations and users started to see them appear in their news feed when friends/family were looking for suggestions for local products/services.

Facebook Recommendations on Mobile

People were starting to talk about the best businesses in their area, sharing their suggestions and recommending local businesses to their friends on Facebook. But these conversations weren’t tied to the business’ online reputation (star rating) directly, and now they are. As of August 2018, Facebook Recommendations have replaced star ratings and reviews, which adds consistency to the social media platform. Tying in the idea of Recommendations from a user’s news feed to the same messaging on business pages allows for a consistent message to describe user feedback of a business on Facebook.

“People already use Recommendations to ask their communities where to go, what to eat, or where to shop. We’re making those Recommendations more prominent on [business] Pages.”

Facebook

2018 Recommendations Update

When a friend is looking for recommendations and you name drop a local business, your recommendation will be pulled to the company page. The conversations that customers are having online will have an effect on the businesses that are mentioned.

2. Improved reporting of spam & fraudulent recommendations

Facebook is prioritizing the need to get rid of spam reviews and make it easier for businesses to report fraudulent business feedback. In addition, the minimum character requirements allow for reviews to be more personalized and limit the amount of one-click-one-star spamming that was seen on Facebook in the past.

3. Emerging business themes from recommendation tags

New tagging functionality will help provide an overview of service performance to local businesses. Adding sentiment tags or related keyword tags to Recommendations will allow themes to emerge from customer feedback. This makes it easier for businesses to find out what they are known for and identify trends.

The New World of Digital Word-of-Mouth Marketing

Word-of-mouth marketing is still one of the most powerful ways to market a business, and Facebook has become this type of marketing’s new, trackable avenue. Businesses want people to talk about them with their friends, to share their good experiences, and to drive more traffic to their business. But they also want to track where their customers are coming from and who referred them to their business. In 2016, Facebook allowed people to ask their friends for Recommendations to find experiences from local consumers who have dealt with businesses in the area. Whether you’re asking your best friend for a good plumber, or getting that same answer over your Facebook news feed, it’s still word-of-mouth marketing. Now, Facebook is tying everything together by telling a consistent story around Recommendations. With this update, Facebook hopes to become the go-to destination for word-of-mouth marketing.

Content courtesy Vendasta.

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4 Strategies to Increase Customer Conversion

Invest in Your Business; Convert More Customers with Your Website

Owning and operating a business is an investment of time, money and resources. Invest wisely for Greater Conversions.

It’s unlikely you’d invest in a business without a solid business plan. Or a plan in place to manage their online presence.

Your online presence is what you say about your business, and more importantly, what others say about your business and your industry. Your online presence is represented by your website, social media and reputation. Let’s focus on how you can use your website to improve your online presence and increase customer conversions (sign ups, contacts, purchases).

Here are 4 Strategies to Increase Conversions on Your Website

Contact Form

Companies that make it easy for customers to contact them receive more inquiries. A contact form can be as simple as this example, or much more complex, asking for details, availability, past history or reason for the request. The easier the form is for the customer to use, the more customers will use it.

Have you tested your contact form lately? Test your contact methods on a regular basis. Often updating plugins, making changes to your website and moving content within your website will “break” links and forms you’d forgotten were connected.

PROOF: We added a Contact Form to a customer’s website 1 year ago. At the time, the customer’s goal was to increase her business by 33%. Enhancing her website, re-examining the reason customers do business with her and adding a Contact Form resulted in a 50% growth year-over-year.

Curious about the number of visitors to your website and your conversion rate? Check out this handy service to measure your conversion and optimization rate.

Search Engine Optimization

There are several ways you can improve and build internet presence through search engine optimization (SEO) services. Google, for example, allows you to purchase traffic, pay to have your ad ranked higher in local searches, and even purchase traffic on a per-click basis. Just create a Google Ads account and you are on your way.

You can also improve your search rankings for free by offering quality and engaging content. Many businesses include a routine keyword-rich blog post on their company website that helps draw in traffic. The real key to SEO is monitoring the end result; keep track of the number of visitors to each blog post to understand what content is engaging to your customers.

PROOF: SEO is the long-game along with investing and planning for the future. SEO creates results for the long term much like eating well and exercise. You won’t see results overnight but small steps each day result in large gains in time. Such was the case for a local HR firm seeking to have their Listing and website at the top of Google; it took time but they are solidly at the top.

Mobile Website Design

A good website has relevant content for ready-to-buy customers, a company overview, service pages and contact information. If you want to stand out and engage your traffic, then stick to an easy design with a landing page that grabs the attention of your visitors. Need a hand planning out your site, or understanding what you can achieve? Take us up on our free assessment offer today!

Mobile-friendly websites are critical for businesses. Up to 90% of your traffic comes from mobile devices. Customers looking for a hotel, a restaurant or a coffee shop want find the closest location with the highest reviews. If your site is difficult to use on a mobile device, customers will abandon your site within 8 seconds for a competitor’s website.

PROOF: Check your Google Analytics account to determine how many of your visitors come from mobile vs desktop. Log in to your Google Analytics account, click Audience on the left hand-side, chose Mobile and select Overview. (Go figure – ours as of today for all time is 67% desktop.)

Manage Your Online Presence

With modern technology and the abundance of business-oriented search engine services, you shouldn’t have any problems promoting your business online. It just takes a little effort on your part to see a massive boost in traffic. With online marketing, the sky’s the limit. 

Many business owners fail to recognize that their online presence is as much what you say about yourself as it is what others say about you. To manage your online presence, you need to monitor ALL of the online content about your business and industry. Start with a tool like Google Alerts and as your business grows and needs a more robust tool, or your industry becomes more competitive, try Reputation Management.

PROOF: Reputation Management not only monitors your business, industry and employees, it also allows you the ability to monitor competitors. In a competitive industry like real estate or insurance, advisors often rely on competitor data to stay one step ahead of the competition.

These 4 Strategies will Provide Return on Your Investment

Increase your Return on Investment (ROI) starting today with these 4 simple strategies for real results. Be sure to let us know your results!

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Boost Your Sales with</br>Google My Business

Find More Ready-to-Buy Customers on the First Page of Google

Check out the latest updates on the #1 Listing Service used by purchase-ready customers.

Google Listings can be a challenge. On a good day. There’s just something about the process that can fluster even the best of us. Below, we share all of our tried and true steps to optimize your Listing; each and every one of the steps we take to boost our clients subscribed to Listing Management along with all of the latest updates to the tech giant’s free service.

Looking for just the updates? Skip ahead to this month’s updates.

What is a Google Listing? What will it do for me?

A Google Listing is a free service by Google and it garners the lion’s share of the click-traffic from ready-to-buy customers. Think of it this way; when researching a product or service, a potential customer will most likely head to the organic search results (websites that appear below the Listings) to learn or read more about the variety of offerings. When a customer is ready to buy something, go somewhere or take an action, they head to the Listings. As such, let’s get your Listing optimized!

Like it on Top? There are only three ways you can get to the top of Google.

  1. Paid Ads. (Pay to play service. Average click-thru is 13.8%.)
  2. Google Listings. (Free Listing service from Google My Business. Average click-thru is 28.8%.)
  3. Organic Search Results. (Earn your way to top position with SEO. Average click-thru is 43.9%.)

Let’s get your business to the top!

A Quick Tour of Your Listing

Home

Your Google My Business Home tab is your quick-view dashboard with insights, an overview and a few hints into what your competitors are doing with their Listings. Be sure to check it out and find some new ideas for content.

Posts

Posts are Google’s equivalent of social media: with the exception that Google wants you to promote your sales and discounts, as well as announce events and share news. Posts are a direct pipeline to Google; your chance to have a 1:1 conversation with Google, and say, “hey Google, here’s what we’re all about!” 

Curious how many customers see your Posts? Carefully look under a Post and you will see a number beside a little “eye.”

Get the full scoop on what posts can do for your business and all the details in Google Adds Posts to Your Listing. 

Info

The Info tab is the heart of your Google Listing. Here you can update all of the details about your business including Name, Address and Phone number (NAP), your business category(ies), hours and holidays, contact information and *ALERT ALERT* add a business description and products and services.

What is a business description you say? Well, glad you asked.

Here’s the short version. A business description is a 750 character, keyword-friendly written overview of your business. Want Google and potential customers to find you for website design? How about SEO services? Or reputation and listing management? This is the place to do it!

Looking for a few more details? Check out this video How to Add a Google Listing Description.

Up-to-date information about your business is HUGE. Repeat HUGE for getting your business found and chosen by customers. Don’t just think about it – finish reading this article and go update your information!

Insights

Ahhhh, insights, a data lover’s dream! Did you know that you can find out how many times your Listing was viewed? And what the top search keywords are for your Listing! The Insights tab gives you the ability to tailor new content according to what potential customers are searching for, giving you even better visibility in the search results!

Take a moment to look at the number of customers who view your Listing, click-thru to your website or ask for directions to your location. As the number of actions taken from your Listing increases, so too will your sales!

Power Up Your Business with Online Listings

Uncover the most powerful way to get your business on the first page of Google!




Reviews

Google and Facebook agree (shock!). Reviews are the #1 driver of success in Listings. Customers choose businesses with higher star ratings at an alarming rate. If you don’t have Reviews, go ask all of those customer’s you’ve wow’d! Finding it tough to ask? Check out this article, Gracefully Ask Your Customers for Reviews for tips to make it easy-peasy.

Oh but wait! Responding to Reviews is equally important; good or bad. In fact, responding to Reviews will greatly improve your online reputation. Learn all about the 4 Simple Steps to Respond to Reviews. 

Messaging

Prefer a text or SMS message with your customers prior to a phonecall? Messaging allows you to chat with your customers, book appointments or answer questions even before a potential customer is ready to discuss in detail; or until you are ready to disclose your number.

Jan 2019

It is believed, though it has not been confirmed by Google, that Messaging will be shut down in March 2019. If you did not setup Messaging, it is likely no longer an option for your business.

Photos

If a picture says 1000 words, imagine how much you can say with current and up-to-date pictures of your business, location, products, services, team and logos. You can speak volumes and the customer is listening!

Don’t forget – customers can upload photos too; what a great word of mouth marketing opportunity!

Website

Did you know that you can create your first website for free with Google? If you don’t already have a website, this is a great place to get started. Your website address will be listingname.business.google.com, but you have the option to buy a domain and build a more sophisticated site using Google Sites.

Your new, free site can include location, services, hours and pictures and is mobile friendly.

Users

Adding Users is adding collaborators or team members. On this page, you can add additional people to your Listing to be able to add and edit your Listing’s content. This feature makes collaboration and coordination with colleagues a breeze.

Create an Ad

Last but certainly not least, you can create a Google Ad from within your Listing. **TIP** Creating your first Ad from your Listing will connect your Google Ads account and your Google My Business account, offering you the added bonus of displaying your ad within the Listings.

Remember, ads are one of the top three ways to get your business to the top of Google and help customers find you. 

Are you convinced of all the amazing (not to mention free) features that a Google My Business Listing can do for you yet? Need a hand getting setup? Check out our step-by-step instructions below. 

You’ll be ‘above the fold’ in no time!

Latest Updates

January 2019

Another exciting month of changes is behind us as Google continues to change up their plans. 2019 will see the end of some significant Google apps, namely Google+ and Allo. While Google+’s loss seems to be minimal, for those tied into Google My Business Messaging, Allo is a bigger deal.

Messaging

Allo, Google’s Messaging app, is saying good-bye in March 2019. Predictions are that Messaging within Listings will also go away, however it was recently noticed that some Listings display a larger, more prominent “Message Business” button. Many are hopeful that Google will allow messaging through an app, or through a mobile device.

For many businesses, Listing Messaging is tied into chat bots and drip sequences. If your business relies on Messaging, stay tuned for more updates!

In the example below you can see two options to Message the business. One in “Message” and the other in “Contact us now.”

Add Products and Services

Restaurants are long since familiar with the ability to add their menu, pricing and delivery information to Google Listings but most business categories will now see an option to add Products or Services within Info. Businesses can add numerous types of products and services including pricing to the Listing. Interestingly, content added here is only visible on a mobile device AND according to a Google spokesperson, this content does not influence search results.

Don’t let that sway you! In true Google fashion, what does not influence search today is bound to be a top performer tomorrow!

Mobile App

Google updated the 2014 mobile app on Android and iOS to include robust features such as Posting, Locations, Customers, Profiles and more. Most users will find the new app meets all their Listing management needs.

Agencies however are not able to use the app to service multiple clients at the same time.

Posts

Many users report seeing a decline in views and clicks to their Posts. Some business categories indicate Posts are no longer visible in search results. Google claims this is a temporary reduction but we are watching this trend closely.

For the time being, we recommend continuing to post keyword-friendly content to your Listing.

Google Guarantee

For a very select few business categories, Google is testing a Google Guarantee Program. This gives a business an “endorsed by Google” badge and drastically increases consumer confidence. Read the details on Google’s support page.

Agency Users

If you are an agency user, like Above the Fold, good news this month! Within the Agency dashboard, spreadsheets can be uploaded and downloaded to quickly integrate customers with multiple locations.

Spam Detection

Google will never call you to confirm details on your listing, offer to optimize your listing or threaten to close your listing. These are spam phone calls and if you receive a call protect yourself. Do not give any personal or identifying information.

Google My Business Step-by-Step Setup

Login page for Google My Business

Google My Business Login
As stated on Google’s website.

Computer

  1. Navigate to Google My Business.
  2. Search for your business using its name and address.
  3. If you see a dialog letting you know that someone else has verified the business, follow these steps.
  4. If you don’t see your business listed in the menu, click No, these are not my businesses or I’ve correctly entered the business. You’ll then be prompted to enter some details for your business. Make sure you enter an accurate, complete street address, and a phone number which reaches your business directly.
  5. Click Submit.

Mobile

  1. Open the Google My Business app.
  2. Sign in with the Google account you’d like to use to manage your business.
    • If this is your first time adding a business to Google, sign in with the Google account you’d like to use to manage your business and touch Continue.
    • If you’ve added a business before, tap the menu icon , then tap the name of your business to reveal a list of all listings in your account. Scroll to the bottom of the page and choose + Create new business.
  3. If you see a dialog letting you know that someone else has verified the business, follow these steps.
  4. Enter your business name and information and agree to the terms of service. Touch Continue once you’re ready to create a listing for your business.
    • You may want to access Google My Business on desktop to access more advanced editing features, including adding service-areas. Learn more

Mobile Listings View

Google My Business Listing Sample Above the Fold Canada

To enter the verification code you receive:

  1. Sign in to Google My Business.
  2. If you’re managing multiple businesses, choose the one at the address where you received the postcard.
  3. Click Verify location from the menu (or click the Verify now button) and follow the prompts to complete verification.

Voila!

You have added or claimed your business on Google. Let us know how it went! Did you have any difficulties or was it an easy process?

Keeping your Listing up-to-date is a key feature of climbing the search ranks. Read more about adding Posts or a Description. By utilizing all of the features of the Google My Business Listing service, your business information will remain accurate and customers will more easily be able to shop with you.

The Ultimate Google Listing Guide to find more Ready-to-Buy Customers.

Get your copy today!




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